Warning: SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Far From Home
The story of Spider-Man: Far From Home establishes Peter Parker as a leading Avenger in the future of the MCU, if not officially the next Tony Stark. But believe it or not, Spider's Man's shocking credits scene may not be completely bad news. Peter Parker's identity going public may actually bring an old flame back into the picture as his first superhero recruit--just as the role of the Avengers' 'wingman' is opening up.
There may be plenty of Spider-Man Easter Eggs teasing the MCU's future, but after Avengers: Endgame, the only thing fans know for sure is that this universe will need more new heroes than old, as the original players step down, and hand things over to the younger generation (a shift at the core of Spider-Man: Far From Home's story). But it's possible that might have already happened without audiences or the surviving heroes seeing it. That's assuming that when half the planet disappeared in the blink of an eye--including superheroes and vigilante crimefighters--it inspired others with skills and means to stand up in their absence.
That list of successors may be a total mystery (if it even exists yet) but it's seeming more and more likely to include Liz Toomes, the daughter of Spider-Man: Homecoming's villainous vulture. Sound far-fetched? Not when you look at Marvel's latest Spider-Man comics--and definitely not after the filmmakers themselves confirm they may "explore" Liz's return in Spider-Man 3, now that Peter's secret is out. Allow us to explain, because this heroic turn may be more of a no-brainer than fans realize.
The Vulture's (Surprise) Daughter in The MCU
By now fans will have had time for the big surprise plot twist of Spider-Man: Homecoming to have worn off, now free to process Spider-Man: Far From Home's even more shocking ending. When Liz Allan (played by actress Laura Harrier) was reported to be Peter's high school crush, the comic fans confirmed that was true to the comic history, where Liz ended up crushing on Peter, before marrying Harry Osborn. What they weren't prepared for was the twist in this telling, making the student Liz Toomes, and daughter of the Vulture a.k.a. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton). In case any fans were wondering why Liz wasn't present in the sequel, Homecoming leaves her character unresolved, heading off to Vermont with her mother to seek some peace during Adrian's trial and incarceration.
Which seems a shame, considering she's just as brilliant as Peter and MJ, always enamored with the arrival of the heroic Spider-Man, and left bearing the guilt of her family being tied to winged villainy and wrongdoing. Well MCU fans, Liz Toomes could make a HUGE comeback in the MCU in a way guaranteed to once again break new ground for the franchise, and help shape the future of the MCU's heroes in the process. Liz witnessing the disappearance of Spider-Man, and deciding to use her family's legacy to do good sound too far-fetched? The comics just laid all the groundwork we need.
The Vulture's Daughter Turns Hero (in Marvel Comics)
The decision to give a new twist on Vulture by making him a loving father, and adding another bi-racial young woman to the MCU was nothing but inspired. And it seems to have inspired more than just audience members, now that Marvel's own teenage webslinger Miles Morales: Spider-Man has met a new female hero calling herself Starling. The character is introduced in search of revenge, soon teased as a possible love interest to Miles--but it's the family she belongs to that is far more interesting. As Miles soon discovers, the bold and beautiful Starling is actually Tiana Toomes, the granddaughter of the Vulture, "that crusty old white dude." Sound familiar?
The distinction of daughter/granddaughter may have been a problem without a solution, since the Vulture of the comics is actually a senior citizen. But can this really just be coincidence? Or are the writers taking hold of an unresolved tale of guilt and redemption Spider-Man: Homecoming and running with it? Putting aside the gap in lineage, the shared relation to the Vulture between Liz Allen (Laura Harrier) of the MCU and Starling cannot go unnoticed. And unnoticed they did not go, as our curiosity at such a parallel was piqued. But as exciting to consider as this story for the MCU's Liz may be, the question of how it could be adapted, and the apparent removal of Liz Toomes from Far From Home stifled the chances. Of course, that was before the movie ended by revealing Peter Parker and Spider-Man, the man who brought Vulture to justice, were actually the same person.
Spider-Man's Twist Ending Would Explain Liz's Return
On its own, fans might consider it a fun theory to entertain: Liz survived the Thanos snap, and just like Starling in the comics decided to take what her family is now infamous for, and use it for her own mission and identity. But with no evidence that Liz escaped the MCU's 'Blip' and no sign of Harrier ever returning, even intriguing evidence seemed nothing but idle speculation. Thankfully, Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts decided to address both points when speaking to ComicBook:
Oh yeah... we talked about it a little bit. I mean, that's something that I would love to explore more future films... She was [five years older than everyone] when we shot the movie, so now she can just actually play her. Now she can just play her actual age.
As a person of the same level of intellect and motivation as Peter, Liz's role as a hero fits perfectly alongside Peter Parker. Whether she returns for revenge against Spider-Man and needs to be talked down to who she used to be, or arriving even older and wiser as a superhero, the film writes itself. Coupled with survivor’s guilt from being spared the snap, that pressure could push her to either wear or re-imagine her father’s wings to become her own hero. And if she proves to handle her own alongside Spider-Man, reclaiming the wings and bird moniker of her father... it seems inevitable for Peter and her to cross paths with one recently promoted hero that could take her… under his wing (couldn’t resist).
The MCU Has an Opening For a New 'Falcon'
The end of Avengers: Endgame saw Steve Rogers pass on his shield (and with it the Captain America mantle) to Sam Wilson, naming him the worthy successor. The questions surrounding the character's Falcon & Winter Soldier role aside, the promotion means the end of his old persona as the Falcon. As good a name as 'Starling' may be, if the MCU were to introduce a young hero embracing bird-like wings, the honor seems too good to not offer. Especially since it would spin out of Peter Parker's own experiences. Spider-man had Iron Man as a mentor to help him become the hero he is in the MCU. So to follow the same path of a young hero needing guidance, who would have similar abilities that could help a newly winged teenager? Starling's outfit and abilities are strikingly similar to that of the Falcon, making this a match made in Heaven.
Re-introducing Liz Toomes in the upcoming Spider-Man 3 as a hero seeking Peter out for both personal and professional reasons has been demonstrated in the comics already, but could also be part of a much larger story, injecting new life into the next phase of the MCU. The possibilities are endless--giving Sam a wingman once again, bringing the young Falcon into his Disney+ series to train, or even making Liz and Peter the first rumblings of a new, Young Avengers team. With Spider-man leading the next phase of films, having characters connected to the hero show up in other films and limited series would help the MCU build Spider-Man as a cornerstone to the future of the franchise, just as Iron Man before him..
The Young Avengers Initiative seems like a property tailor made for Disney's streaming service, with the MCU having already set up characters to join Liz in the Young Avengers. Ant-Man's daughter Cassie has been similarly aged-up during The Blip, and she has several superhero personas to choose from. Hawkeye's daughter Lila Barton was also teased to be capable with a bow like her father (Hawkeye, perhaps?).
With little known about the next phase of the MCU, two things are for certain: the mantle of the Falcon is empty, and Spider-man and his gambit of characters will be a cornerstone of the MCU going forward. Whether fact, or more fan-fiction, one cannot not get excited about the possibilities.